Zac Johnson on Making Millions with Affiliate Ad Networks
While other boys were thinking about girls, Zac was creating a business from selling soda pop. Later, he would make millions with Affiliate Marketing.
Wow Zac! You have quite the inspiring story. I’ve always been a fan of Affiliate Marketing and you’re one of the best, so I’m honored to have this interview with you. So, let’s get started!
Where were you born and raised, what was childhood like, and what did your parents do for a living?
I was born in New Jersey (and still here today). Normal childhood with two awesome parents and a younger sister. My Dad is an engineer and my Mom is a home maker. Best parents ever and I’d have it no other way.
Today I live with my awesome wife Reena, and our amazing dog Foxy. For the past four years we’ve been dealing with the fun aftermath of SuperStorm Sandy and rebuilding our home.
Were your parents Entrepreneurs?
Neither of my parents were entrepreneurs. My father worked long days as a gov. engineer and would leave in the morning and come home at night.
When running my internet business, I would usually be up in the morning (all night when he left), then see him (stilling being at the computer) when he would get home.
My mother recently started a side-business for princess parties on her own and has also had a few web sites of her own for over 15 years now as well.
My Dad has played a huge part in my success, as he’s attending many different conferences and events with me. You can listen to my interview with my Dad to hear about our journey together.
I usually ask “what did you want to be when you grew up” but I think it’s apparent what you wanted to do, so I’d like to ask: “How did you go from selling soda to affiliate marketing?
Even before I was selling sodas in school, I was selling Marvel cards in elementary school. I always had that business mentality and thought about different ways to make money, while other kids were focused on cartoons and whatnot.
Fortunately, the internet came around at a good time. I knew there had to be a way to make money with the internet, it was just a matter of figuring it out.
In the beginning, I made a few websites just as a hobby, then started messing with different ways to make money online (get paid to surf the internet, paid banners on sites and pushing web hosting in AOL chat rooms).
The first few dollars I made online were actually from making and selling $1 468×60 banners to other site owners in the AOL Web Diner. This was way before Paypal was around, so people would send me a physical dollar in the mail (and many wouldn’t). You can see a few of my first checks here.
You started having success with PostMasterDirect, how did that lead to you selling your own offers on Affiliate Networks?
PMD was awesome because I was pushing a massive amount of sign ups through my own contest sites at the time.
The PMD part was a co-reg section where people could check off their interests and then start receiving offers based on their interest.
This was all opt-in email marketing, and I would get a 40-60% cut of all revenue. The revenue through this lead gen model was great, and it allowed me to set up multiple affiliate offers on different networks, where I was paying anywhere from .07-.30 per lead, and earning more than $1+ on the backend for each sign up.
It worked great for many years, then PMD basically screwed over all of their list owners, took the lists for themselves and nothing was ever paid out again. The joys of the internet…
You have an extremely popular blog. How old is it, how many posts are on it, and what is your daily traffic like?
I started ZacJohnson.com in 2007. Like every website or blog, it started out with zero traffic and revenue. Since I already had over ten years of experience in the world of online marketing, it was easier for me to create content of value versus someone just starting out.
I also had real case studies and stories to share with my audience as well. This all helped to grow the blog. There are over 1,000 posts on the site today and traffic ranges from 30k-50k uniques per month. I have a few other sites in my network and over 3,000 published articles across all of them and on other sites as well.
Alexa states that you have over 800 backlinks pointing to your site. I know Alexa is not accurate, but can you tell us how you accumulated so many backlinks?
It goes back to providing quality content that people find value in. I also write on many other sites. People need to understand it’s not about content creation, it’s more about content promotion.
Create something really amazing and just keep promoting it, versus coming up with new content all the time that is just rehashing what is already out there. Become a trusted and reliable source, and people will continually link back to you.
What are some of the best free SEO on-site practices you do to your articles, such as H3 tags, meta, video, content length, etc?
I don’t go nuts with tags, meta or keywords. I just create content that I know will work well for my audience and the backlinks and references from other sites will do the rest. Again, focus on the promotion.
I do like to intertwine custom images, infographics, videos and podcasts, as this will offer something of value that your competition is likely lacking. Here’s a list of a few simple SEO tips every site owner and blogger can use to improve their content and site rankings.
What blog platform do you recommend people start with? Is WordPress still the best?
WordPress is a no-brainer. My site at walks through the whole process on how to choose a niche, set up hosting, use WordPress and start making money online.
How many blog posts do you think it takes to make a full-time income from home?
Anyone can make six-figures a year with a blog that only has 5 pages. Again, it all goes back to the promotion part. Of course, you need to have the right niche, audience, and monetization in place, but “simply blogging and creating content” will get you nowhere.
What is the best way a blogger can promote their content to get the most traffic and backlinks?
Guest blog on other sites and create original content that other sites want to share (ie: infographics and viral videos). This is all you need to find success online. However, the original content creation and personal outreach is extremely time-consuming.
On your bio, you mention “connections are everything.” What do you mean by that, and who are some of the best connections that you’ve made?
Almost everything I do online can be linked back to someone or an original idea or connection I had from years ago. Take some time to draw out a mind map of where you are currently at and the people you met that helped get you there.
In 2000, I took a week off of school and flew across the country with my Dad to attend Commission Junction University in CA. The connections I made at this conference were a huge influence in where I went the next several years afterward. Many of the people I met that event, I still talk with and know today.
What are your goals for 2017?
Focus more on projects I enjoy, removing the clutter and setting myself up with more residual income based businesses.
Once you figure out a way to make money with something new, it’s not about how many hours in a day you can work to make money, it’s about how many people you can reach per day. (ie: you are limited in a 9-5 job by how many hours you can work, online there are no limitations)
What is your favorite book right now and why?
Honestly, I don’t read many books and none of them “changed my life”. I prefer online content, podcasts and real life experiences.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“I Get Shit Done”…. it’s on my business card, and that’s all it comes down to. It’s easy to “start a website or online business”, but the only people who are seeing success and making it work, are the ones who pour their blog, sweat, and tears into it.
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Zac! This is loaded with great tips and strategies.
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